How To Invert A Mask In Photoshop

Have you been using Photoshop but need to learn what a mask or a mask layer is? You are missing out on so many Photoshop features! Adding layers masks and then inverting them can help greatly in photo editing, especially when you have to make minor tweaks that are significant. 

Select your layer and click “Add Layer Mask” in the Layer mask. After you are done working with the mask, invert it. Select the Layer Mask, go to Image, Adjustment, and click Invert. 

To learn more about Layer Masks in Photoshop and the various ways they are used, continue reading further. This article discusses layer masks, their types, creating them, inverting them, and the need for inversion. 

Why Is A Mask Called A Layer Mask In Photoshop?

Layer masks are a non-destructive way to edit an image in Photoshop. Using a layer mask, you can selectively hide or reveal parts of a layer without permanently deleting any of the content. A layer mask is a black-and-white image, where white shows content and black conceals it.  

Why Is A Layer Mask Used?

Layer masks can be added in Photoshop at any time. However, they are most commonly used when making adjustments to an image or when creating a composite image. Layer masks can hide or reveal a layer’s portions, allowing you to make adjustments without affecting the entire Image. 

They are also used to blend two images, creating a seamless transition between the two.

Types Of Layer Masks

  • Normal Layer Mask: This is the default layer mask type in Photoshop. It allows you to hide or show parts of a layer or group of layers.
  • Vector Mask: Vector masks are vector-based shapes you can draw around an image to hide or show parts of it.
  • Clipping Mask: Clipping masks are used to clip a layer or a group of layers to the layer below them.
  • Quick Mask: Quick masks allow you to quickly hide or show parts of a layer or group of layers without creating a layer mask.
  • Channel Mask: Channel masks allow you to use the color channels of an image as a mask.

How To Create A Layer Mask In Photoshop?

To create a layer mask:

  1. Select the layer you want to create a mask for.
  2. Click the “Add Layer Mask” button at the bottom of the Layers palette.
  3. A white box with a black circle in the middle will appear next to the layer. This is the layer mask.
  4. Select the brush tool and set the foreground color to black.
  5. Paint over the areas of the Image you want to hide. The areas you paint will be hidden, and the areas left untouched will remain visible.
  6. To make changes to the mask, select the layer mask and use the brush tool with either black or white to make adjustments. Black will hide the areas, and white will reveal them.

How To Invert A Layer Mask In Photoshop?

To invert a layer mask:

  1. Select the Layer Mask to Invert it.
  2. Go to Image> Adjustments > Invert.
  3. The Layer Mask will now be inverted.

Keyboard Shortcut For Inverting A Layer Mask

Keyboard shortcuts are helpful because they allow users to perform a task with minimal effort quickly. While keyboard shortcuts take some time to get used to and remember, you may want to start using the following in your routine Photoshop tasks. 

Mac – Cmd + I

Windows – Ctrl + I

For a quick recap and a demonstration of the steps, watch this video: 

Why Is A Layer Mask Inverted?

Layer masks are inverted in Photoshop because it is easier to work with white as the active color. White is used to reveal parts of the Image, while black is used to hide parts of the Image. This makes it easier for designers to make changes to the Image without constantly switching between the two colors. 

Layer masks in Photoshop are used to hide or reveal parts of a layer selectively. They can be inverted to hide the previously visible parts and make the previously hidden parts visible. This is useful when the user needs to adjust the layer without affecting the entire layer.


Learning about Layer Masks must have felt like receiving too much information. We suggest you take it slow and slowly start incorporating layer masks in your practice as an editor or artist. You will get the hang of it eventually, be patient.